Predictable Boro Bang On Course

AMID the hysteria surrounding the totally predictable defeat at Manchester City were dire predictions that the world was going to spin off its axis, statements as fact that relegation was a certainty and frenzied assertions that it was the worst performance by a Boro side EVER.
That over-reaction was par for the course. As it was that the City calamity followed hot on the heels of an equally unfounded upsurge in optimism that the top half suddenly beckoned after workmanlike wins over high-flying utilitarians Everton and lacklustre neighbours Newcastle.
When it comes to wild-eyed fluctuations at the extremes of opinion Boro fans are top of the league. But why? Didn’t everyone expect this season to be a case of two steps forward, one step back with the team wobbling unsteadily around the bottom half like a teenager who has been at the booze cabinet?


Looking back at my own jaundiced pre-season result-by-result predictions I had Boro down for a nightmare start and only just by this stage finally getting to grips with the season. Remember, the Dutch tour had been a disaster, things were frustrating in the transfer market and with the Huth deal stalled over his injury, Distin holding out for 40K and Woodgate yet to appear on the radar, the defence looked a bit of a mess. Many on Teesside shared that bleak outlook and were digging in for the dogfight. I confess I was expecting a grind.
In fact, I had Boro pencilled in to take just two pathetic points from the first five games. What a faint-hearted, lily-livered, half-empty chicken-running defeatist! Yet looking at what I scrawled hastily in realistic resignation back in August, I have the Boro points tally bang on with 11.
Not that my predictions would have troubled the bookies. Far from it, the results are all over the shop. Naturally I had Boro down to get battered at Arsenal (by the traditional 4-0) and at home to revenge seeking Chelsea (3-0) but I thought Boro would beat Sheffield United and Blackburn so those results even themselves out in a weird football algebra.
And I fully expected to lose at Reading – all fired up with 100mph emotional energy and with history beckoning – so that is one right but only pencilled in draws at home to Everton and Newcastle. I had projected a point in a bore-draw at home to Pompey and another at Man City.
Here’s my list:
Reading 2 Boro 1
Boro 0 Chelsea 3
Boro 0 Portsmouth 0
Arsenal 4 Boro 0
Bolton 0 Boro 0
Boro 1 Blackburn 0
Sheff Utd 1 Boro 2
Boro 1 Everton 1
Boro 1 Newcastle 1
Man C 1 Boro 1
Terrible punditry. Apart from the opening day defeat the only result I have called correctly was the 0-0 draw at Bolton so I can’t claim to be either a shrewd soccer statistician, a clairvoyant or even particularly lucky in picking random numbers. But the points tally is correct up to now. To be honest that is no great shakes. Most realistic Boro fans will have calculated it to be around about the same mark, give or take a point. I don’t think we expected too much.
And while there will be kneejerk hysteria and radical readjustments of projected points and position with every result, most will find that their pre-season predictions will hold strong. The consensus back then was that it would be a season of consolidation as rookie boss Southgate found his feet and tried to change the imbedded cautious culture of an unbalanced side that, in the league, had been poor for 18 months. Nothing has changed dramatically since then.
For my part I’ve got Boro down to earn 48 points over the season which should be enough to finish 14th or so. By my reckoning, after we get stuffed by Man U at home early in December Boro will go on a good run of just one defeat in eight and maybe even nudge into the top half – but then poor runs in Jan/Feb and the final straight re-establishes the natural order.
I’ve actually got Boro down to lose at Watford today; well by my calculations they have gone five unbeaten now and they are due to slip up if only to damp down heightened expectations. That I have gone for defeat should cheer those who have spotted a pattern in my predictions so far.

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14 thoughts on “Predictable Boro Bang On Course

  1. Pre-season many were predicting a lower mid table finish and I was amongst them, our present position in the table being par for the course.
    This is by no means a piece of brilliant analysis of our playing resources compared to the opposition or research on the back up or training facilities. Mid table is simply the part of the league we inhabit, a good season we get into the top half, a poor season sees us flirt with relegation.
    I also stated we are neither as good as some nor as bad as others think. People often lose sight of the fact other teams are trying to improve as well.
    My concern is the patchiness of our performances, not just from match to match but even within matches. I would even go so far to say within halves. The different levels of intensity bother me.
    Reading – 25 mins then lets go for a shower, Chelsea a good performance, Arsenal & Bolton good concentration, Man City – a 9.30pm kick off for us.
    And what will we see today? Which team will turn up for which part of the match?

  2. I agree with the arguments, in general.
    What is upsetting is that the reason for the poor projections I had for this season were not based on the unavoidable but on a continuing series of poor decisions, broken promises and lacklustre dealing by the club.
    These have been combined with (again) a continuing series of inconsistent performances which, again despite promises, have never escaped the shackles of the legacy of last season’s poor coaching, management and under-par play. All avoidable.
    We all accepted, and many of us welcomed, the need for change – the problem is we haven’t had it.
    And that this season would be about restructuring and mid-table consolidation while we changed with the occasional reverse likely. But as yet mid-table consolidation seems a distant dream as do the promised changes.

  3. Boro have gifted all three promoted sides their first victories of the season.
    Maybe Gooch would have been a good idea after all?

  4. well, the through-ball for their second was superb: if only we could do the same going forward…at least we know now that if we end up getting relegated we don’t have a team capable of doing the business in The Championship

  5. My posting above was made shortly before setting out for Watford.
    Little did I think that a few hours later all my words would be so horribly undelined as they were.
    For once I’m actually beginning to hope that an FA/Prem ruling goes against the club.

  6. Sadly our form away is currently not patchy it is consistently bad……I’m not sure what to add other than I still believe that the team is seriously under-performing and that needs to be put right now.

  7. My pre season predictions had Boro on 15 points after the Watford game. Granted like your good self most of the results so far I to have got wrong.
    However for all the talk from the players of how much they want to play for GS, performances on the pitch from the last two games seem to show that something is badly wrong within the squad.
    Earlier in the season I said that GS had to go or the coaching staff needs to be changed, or possibly both.
    The abysmal performances at City and Watford proves that something needs to be done ASAP or Boro will be relegated.

  8. Robert Huth was fantastic at the back, but where we struggled was in midfield. Boateng isn’t playing like he’s capable of and is giving the ball away far to much, arca looked lost, downing looked fine, but he kept picking the ball up to go down the left flank and yak would run in the way and occupy the channel downing should be running into instead of getting on the end of the cross.
    We need an attacking midfielder to play along side boateng, and its not euell, we need someone with some pace and good passing ability, and vision, for yak to be effective he needs the ball to feet.

  9. Edd
    That is the problem with Yak Im afraid, he likes to come over to the left, he likes the ball into feet and run at defenders. For all his runs he is not the sort of striker to get onto the end of crosses.

  10. Altough we are having a poor start to the season,it’s turning out to be great one for all boro & mackems as we watch the barcodes implode into the bottom of the premier league.
    Have faith in SG he appointed GS,he rarely gets things wrong. But if read this SG it is begining to worry the loyal 22,000 hardcore red book holders.

  11. John York – I think we need to be very careful that we don’t implode alongside the Barcodes. If we self-destruct I won’t be taking any satisfaction from who goes down with us – even if it’s them.
    Last season it was the West Midlands that suffered a near termination of all their Prem teams – and Villa almost made it clean sweep.
    It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that the North Esat goes the same way this year.

  12. I agree, most fans expected a season of consolidation but also a change of style of play especially when defending.
    Our coaches want to look at the way for instance the top teams defend corners, they do not pack everone into the penalty box but leave three or four players out to a) leave room for the ‘keeper to get to the ball and b) have someone to challenge for the ball when it is cleared.
    All the fans can see the problem, the body language of the team shows they know the problem and are obviously playing a system they do not agree with. Until it is changed nothing else will.

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